Militants Suspected of Blowing Up Israel-Egypt Gas Pipeline, Officials Say

Armed individuals are suspected of blowing up the gas pipeline stretching between Israel and Egypt, Egyptian security officials said Sunday night. 

At least six masked militants planted explosives under the pipeline in the town of Bir al-Abd. It transfers gas to el-Arish, the provincial capital of North Sinai, and a cement factory in central Sinai, the officials said.

The explosion sent thick flames of fire shooting into the sky, and authorities stopped the flow of gas to extinguish the fire, officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists.

No group immediately claimed the attack.

Gas supply from Egypt to Israel began in 2008 via a gas pipe that passes through the Sinai Peninsula as part of a deal signed between the two countries in 2005.

The Egyptians had committed to supplying Israel with up to one billion cubic meters per year for 20 years as part of the pact. Between 2010 and 2012, the gas pipeline had been blown up over ten times, after the uprising that led to the ouster of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had begun.